Among the foreign issues America has dealt with many times is hostage taking. Kidnappers claimed many reasons for the action, but it was frequently done to extort money in support of a cause. Extortion kidnappings have often involved seizing of American missionaries and threatening to kill them unless ransom was paid. More than a hundred years ago, there occurred what is referred to as “America’s First Modern Hostage Crisis,” which is actually the subtitle of a 2003 book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Teresa Carpenter.
The Miss Stone Affair is the title, referring to Protestant missionary Ellen Maria Stone. A North Country man was a key player in her story, which riveted the nation for half a year.
Charles Monroe Dickinson was born in November 1842 in Lowville, New York (Lewis County). After high school, he worked for several winters as a schoolteacher at Haverstraw-on-Hudson, about 20 miles south of West Point. The money earned helped further his education at Fairfield Seminary and Lowville Academy. During this time, Charles also explored writing, particularly poetry. At the age of 19 he produced a poem, “The Children,” that constitutes his second great claim to fame. More on that later. » Continue Reading.